FAQ > Color Cycling 8bit Art > Q: I'm curious about his choice (?) of dithering algorithm. Was it an artistic decision maybe?


A: Yes, in fact. Different effects work better or worse with different dithering methods. Most often I use patterned dither because I want the effect to look smooth and precise. This requires all the pixels in the syncopated array of shifting color offsets to be very evenly, regularly and precisely spaced and arranged. Using diffusion or random dither in these instances would produce effects too fractured and chaotic in texture. Sometimes, however, that’s exactly what you want, so, for example, in the ‘Sea Cave’ beach scene, at the point where the wave collapses into gouts of foam, I wanted a chunkier, more particulate, chaotic’ texture, so I used ‘diffusion’ dither in that spot. Diffusion dither on the smooth, rising wave face just before that point, however, would have looked terrible. For effects like snow - and often rain - one wants the snowflake or rain drop path filled with solid, straight-edged bands of color unbroken by any pixilation at all. So I use the ‘no dither’ setting to apply those gradients.

When we first started using dither at Lucasfilm Games in the late ’80s, I often created dither by hand, placing one pixel at a time until I got just the ‘blend’ I wanted. … But I was young and crazy then.